Photogrammetry versus Traditional Surveying

In land and data surveying, two methodologies are commonly used: traditional surveying and photogrammetry. While both approaches serve the common goal of collecting spatial information, they do so using fundamentally different techniques. Let’s compare photogrammetry with traditional surveying methods, highlighting the distinct advantages that photogrammetry brings to the table.

Understanding Traditional Surveying

Traditional surveying involves the direct measurement of distances, angles, and elevations using specialized equipment.  Surveyors physically walk the area taking measurements at specific points to create accurate maps, plans, and land records. This method has been the industry standard for many years, as it delivers precise results in projects.

Photogrammetry – A Modern Approach

Photogrammetry, on the other hand, uses the power of imagery and computer algorithms to extract spatial data. By capturing photographs from various vantage points and angles, photogrammetry constructs 3D models and maps, often without the need for physical contact with the surveyed area. This technique is gaining prominence due to its numerous advantages including:

Cost-Efficiency: Traditional surveying can be labor-intensive and costly, especially for large-scale projects. Photogrammetry reduces expenses by minimizing the need for on-site personnel and equipment.

Rapid Data Collection: Photogrammetry accelerates data acquisition. By utilizing drones or aircraft to capture aerial images, vast areas can be surveyed in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.

Safety: Surveyors often work in challenging or hazardous environments. Photogrammetry keeps personnel out of harm’s way by allowing data collection from a safe distance.

High Precision: Modern photogrammetry software can produce highly accurate results, often rivaling or surpassing traditional surveying in terms of precision.

Versatility: Photogrammetry is suitable for a wide range of applications, from construction and environmental monitoring to archaeological site preservation.

Historical Preservation: Photogrammetry aids in preserving historical sites and landmarks by creating detailed 3D models without causing any physical impact.

While both traditional surveying and photogrammetry have their merits, the advantages of photogrammetry are increasingly evident in today’s fast-paced world. Its cost-efficiency, rapid data collection, and versatility make it an invaluable tool in a wide range of industries. As technology continues to advance, photogrammetry is likely to play an even more prominent role in shaping the future of surveying, providing accurate, detailed, and accessible data for projects of all sizes.

IFO Group offers drone photogrammetry for accurate capturing of 3D data in a wide range of settings including large-scale structures and incidents, indoors and outdoors, in bright light or darkness and during various weather conditions.  Our experienced scanning professionals and licensed drone pilots will help you analyze and deliver point cloud data in the way you need it.  Contact us at or at 832-403-2135 to learn more.